Tip Staff published TIP Chief of Staff Op-Ed in The Washington Blade on Chicago Dyke March in TIP In the News 2017-08-01 17:24:06 -0400
Dyke March aims for safe space for all — unless you’re Jewish
By Ian Sugar
The Washington Blade
June 30, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
Pride weekend is a celebration unlike any other. For LGBTQ activists like myself, it is an opportunity to bring our diverse community together. To celebrate how far we have come. And to honor the lives of those brave men and women whose shoulders we stand on, who fought tirelessly for equal rights for all people. Oh, and to have just a little bit of fun.
And so it was profoundly disappointing to read reports from the recent Dyke March, a separate but confluent event with Chicago’s traditional annual Pride parade. The Dyke March was supposed to be intersectional, sold by its organizers as “more inclusive” and “more social justice-oriented.” Just that their inclusiveness and justice-oriented world stopped with the Jews. At the event, three queer women were asked to leave the march because they were holding a rainbow flag adorned with the Jewish Star of David. The women were bullied by being asked if they were Zionists. When they answered in the affirmative, this was so upsetting to marchers and organizers that they were “triggered” and made to “feel unsafe.”
The Star of David, of course, has only recently been used to identify with Zionism and the State of Israel, and it is indeed used today as a symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism. Despite its recent renaissance and prominence on the Israeli flag, the first archeological example of the symbol can be found in Israel, appearing in a stone from a 3rd or 4th century synagogue. The star continues to appear through the historical record into the Middle Ages and into the 20th century.
The history turns darker before and during World War II, when Jews in Nazi Germany and across occupied Europe were severely punished for not identifying themselves clearly with the star on their clothing. Later, Jews were forced to wear the star on their uniforms in the death camps before being murdered in gas chambers. All in all, more than six million Jews were exterminated during the Holocaust.
But before history’s greatest criminal enterprise, righteous gentiles around Europe stood with their Jewish compatriots by wearing the star in the streets. This act of meaningful resistance helped defy the Nazi invaders and was a powerful show of solidarity with their Jewish friends and compatriots.
Like the brave European gentiles who proudly wore their Star of David under Nazi dictatorship, the Dyke March organizers had an opportunity to embrace the symbol in the spirit of resistance. Instead, the organizers accomplished something very different and sinister.
They acted so that any openly Jewish person does not have a place under the rainbow flag unless they denounce Israel. While one can and should speak out against Israeli government policies when their conscience demands it, this act clearly not only crossed, but also demolished any line Israel’s enemies claim exists between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
The most meaningful part of Pride each year is beholding the immense diversity of the people who just show up: cis people and trans people, straight allies, Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists, conservatives, liberals, people of color and whites, and everyone in between. We rally under the rainbow flag to show our support for all LGBTQ people, including the many millions around the world struggling for basic equality. From Syria to Russia, from Nigeria to Iran, and from Jamaica to Palestine, LGBTQ people cannot be who they are. They must hide in the shadows or risk arrest, torture, and execution by barbaric regimes whose intolerance knows no bounds.
The Dyke March organizers have a standing invitation to join me in Israel for next year’s Pride to see for themselves the thriving pluralistic democracy that exists in a region filled with intolerance and hate, including Palestine where LGBTQ people are routinely harassed.
If they really are what they claim to be, they should join me and many others in demanding equal rights for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, where homosexuality is still illegal. They should support the thousands of LGBTQ Palestinians who seek and receive refuge in Israel, who fear that returning home would lead to certain violence and likely death.
One day, if we stick together, we can all march together in Ramallah or Gaza City to celebrate what brings us together, and not what drives us apart. Sadly, this is not possible today.
American Jews have been on the forefront of every civil rights movement in American history — from supporting better working conditions for workers during the industrial revolution, to the fight for women’s suffrage, to the bloody civil rights movement for people of color, to the right for marriage equality.
Jews have consistently fought for the rights of the marginalized and oppressed. And yet the Jewish community faces new dangers from the far-right and the far-left. Hate crimes against Jews are on the rise. Our cemeteries are being defaced, and our students are being bullied on college campuses.
Laying the seeds of peace and tolerance isn’t easy. Advancing the rights of all marginalized people across the world will require hard work from everyone. Even if you’re openly Jewish.
Ian Sugar is the chief of staff of The Israel Project (TIP), and a member of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund’s Campaign Board of Directors.
Tip Staff published TIP CEO Quoted After North Carolina Passes Anti-BDS Measure in TIP In the News 2017-08-01 16:25:54 -0400
North Carolina Becomes Latest State to Pass Measure Opposing BDS Movement
June 30, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
JNS - A bill titled “Divestment from Companies That Boycott Israel” requires North Carolina state institutions to cease all contracts with companies that boycott Israeli companies and/or products made in Israel. The bill passed the North Carolina House of Representatives 96-19 following a 45-3 vote in the state’s senate. Governor Roy Cooper is expected to sign the legislation.
“The state of North Carolina has long been a trading partner with Israel and thanks to this legislation, that connection will not be hindered. North Carolina businesses conduct $140 million per year in exports and commerce with Israel,” said a joint statement from North Carolina’s Jewish Federations.
Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, praised North Carolina lawmakers “for standing up against antisemitism.”
“And make no mistake, though BDS poses as a human rights movement, in truth, it is nothing more than an attempt to sow anti-Israel hate,” he said. “Hiding behind laudable rhetoric on human rights, boycott advocates single out the Jewish state for special punishment. In fact, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that universally protects these values.”
More than 20 US states have now passed similar anti-BDS legislation.
Tip Staff published TIP CAO Op-Ed in Jerusalem Post on Shared Struggle of Jews and Kurds in TIP In the News 2017-08-01 16:17:04 -0400
JEWS AND KURDS: TWO PEOPLES, BOUND BY HOPE
By Joe Roberts
The Jerusalem Post
July 4, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
One year after the collapse of the Axis powers and the end of World War II, a group of Kurdish men meet to discuss their passion for a national homeland for their people. A dream that had been in the works for more than 500 years. A dream that had survived the deadly violence of war, genocide and government persecution.
The men put pen to paper and created a framework for a country for their people to be safe and free from tyranny. But these men wouldn’t ever know the feeling of freedom or independence. These men would only know the coarse feeling of a cold Iranian noose around the neck of anyone who dared to dream.
As Jews, we know all too well the fear of the hangman’s noose. Our aggressors may have historically been different, but we’ve been subject to the same fear. We’ve felt the noose of the Spanish, the Russians and the Germans throughout our history. In 1948, after our very own declaration of independence, we feared the noose yet again. But this time was different. It was different because we had a state of our own. A state in which Jews could be Jewish. A state where dreams that had spanned millennia could be realized. Through this newfound independence, a realization emerged that the hangman’s noose could no longer come for us without a response; that we were, for the first time since the Roman expulsion of our people from Israel, truly free.
The Kurdish narrative is not that different from our own. An ethnically unique people, rich in culture, a belief in democracy and human rights, and the quest for a place to call their own. We know these dreams because we share them. As Jews, and as supporters of Israel as a Jewish state, we are morally bound to support the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination.
What Israel represents to the Kurds is the realization of that dream. They see in us a people that endured a similar history of oppression and genocide. The Kurds, like Jews, have been subject to the rule of others for thousands of years, never fully being able to trust their neighbors and living in fear of the governments that have ruled over their people. They see what Israel has achieved, and they rightfully want it for the 30-45 million Kurds who live in the region and in the around the world.
When more than 800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries in the 1950s, we had somewhere to welcome them. In Israel, we had a place for them to live and thrive. This includes Kurdish Jews, of whom 125,000 call Israel home today.
For their non-Jewish Kurdish brothers, however, it wasn’t so easy. The hangman came for them again, and this time the price was heavy. When Saddam Hussein’s government came for them, they had nowhere to go. Through a crescendo of violence and oppression, the governments of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria put in place laws that restricted the Kurdish language, culture and freedom of religious expression.
The culmination of this violence was the Anfal genocide carried out by Saddam’s killing machine from 1986-1989, which resulted in the deaths of as many as 182,000 Kurdish men, women and children. The worst of the atrocities happened in Halabja, where as many as 5,000 civilians were killed in a deadly mustard gas attack.
The Kurdistan Regional Government, a semi-autonomous government in Northern Iraq, has announced that it will hold a referendum for independence on September 25, 2017. While not a perfect plan, and one that is likely to be challenged by the government in Baghdad, it is incumbent on us as Jews to support their quest for statehood. Their neighbors are already readying their ropes. If we have learned anything from our own history, it is that we cannot expect the hangman to show mercy for those he is obligated to hang. Only self-determination and self-rule can cut his rope.
The Kurdish People stand on the precipice of history, and they will remember the friends who came to their aid when they needed it most. Let’s hope it is a friendly Jewish face they see. In an ever-changing Middle East, the hangman’s rope casts a long shadow. Let’s support our Kurdish brothers as they seek to sever it once and for all.
The author serves as chief advancement officer at The Israel Project and has spent the past 15 years in international politics and in the Jewish Federation system in various capacities.
Tip Staff published TIP CEO in Jerusalem Post on America’s Missed Opportunity in Syria in TIP In the News 2017-08-01 14:41:10 -0400
AMERICA’S MISSED OPPORTUNITY IN SYRIA
By Joshua S. Block
Jerusalem Post Opinion
July 25, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
A cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia, in consultation with Jordan, began in southwest Syria two weeks ago, including along the sensitive border between Israel and Syria, following a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany.
As is customary, Trump took to Twitter to praise the agreement: “Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” he wrote in a post. Not everyone, however, welcomes the deal and for good reason.
The agreement fails to address the active threat of Iran, ignoring the realities on the ground in Syria, where after taking over Iraq, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism seeks to ensure its dominance through Hezbollah, other Shi’ite militias and its influence over Syrian President Bashar Assad himself.
Israel has long warned about the strong footprint left by the Iranians in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted that the deal would pose a long-term threat on Israel’s northern border by cementing Tehran’s presence there. Iran wants Assad to retake all of Syria and, by extension, consolidate its own power.
And accepting the terms of the agreement doesn’t fit into that scheme.
Already the Iranian presence on Israel’s border is impossible to miss. Just meters from the fence that separates Israel and Lebanon near Metulla, flags adorned with Iranian, Hezbollah and Palestinian symbols are provocatively displayed on the Lebanese side of the border. The message is clear. Iran is looking down on Israel from the north.
Meanwhile, forces loyal to the regime in Tehran are closing in on Israel from inside Syria. The Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militia has reached a strategic corridor along the Iraq-Syrian border near Sinjar and with the Syrian regime simultaneously advancing along the other side of the fence near al-Tanf, the two Iran-backed parties could physically link the territory. In effect, that would allow the Iranians to create a corridor between Iran and Lebanon, through northern Iraq and Syria.
The establishment of a permanent Iranian base in Syria poses a direct and imminent threat to Israel, placing it at risk of a simultaneous confrontation with Tehran’s proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria.
Iran’s terrorist activities along the border have long caused headaches in Jerusalem. In 2015, several high-ranking Hezbollah and Iranian operatives were killed in a strike on a convoy in Syria, near the border with Israel, including notorious Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh and IRGC commander Mohamed Allahdadi.
Crucially, the US could help Israel contain the threat, as it is in a position in Syria it hasn’t been in a long time. It has leverage.
Following the decision by the Trump administration early in the presidency to enforce the red line declared but never enforced by president Barack Obama, the US won back some of the credibility it had squandered over eight years.
Responding to what President Trump called a “horrible chemical weapons attack” in Idlib, the US military delivered powerful air-strikes on a Syrian airfield, in the first direct military action against the Assad regime.
With the lightest application of force, the US netted meaningful leverage – much like the limited application of military power by Russia had given it absolute primacy in shaping the battlefield and the future of the territory.
Although the decision didn’t translate into significant military intervention or a major overhaul of US policy in Syria, the strikes were applauded by the opposition and crucial in signaling to Assad and his allies, Russia in particular, that the US was back in the game and that our interests need to be taken into account.
Of course, a cease-fire that stops or reduces the bloodshed is, in theory, always a good thing. But not if it’s being exploited by forces not aligned with our interests, like Hezbollah and their terror-masters in Tehran, with the potential to unleash even more death and destruction against our allies, and likely to create a major conflagration in an already unstable region.
Unfortunately, prior experience in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere teaches us that the cease-fire will be exploited by these malign actors, and others.
Not only does the deal require blind faith that the Russians will hold their Syrian partners accountable in the event of a violation. Given the length to which Russia protects Assad amid chemical weapons attacks on innocents and untold other brutality, that is highly unlikely.
This troublesome development is not helped by the fact that the Trump administration last week announced the end to the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling Syrian regime forces. It is a move long sought by Russia that will further tip the balance in favor of Assad and the Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis.
Until now, reports of a substantial US-Russia realignment were largely exaggerated. But the brokered ceasefire and the phasing out of the covert CIA program clearly reflect the administration’s intent to find ways to work with Russia even if it makes the US and its allies less safe.
It is an incredibly short-sighted and dangerous policy that tragically throws away the hard-won goodwill garnered by the administration from opposition figures inside Syria and allied governments in the Middle East.
For Syria, it marks yet another missed opportunity in a long line of mistakes.
The author is CEO and president of The Israel Project.
Tip Staff published TIP CEO Op-Ed in The Hill on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in TIP In the News 2017-08-01 14:09:48 -0400
Congress can send a powerful message by passing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act
By Joshua S. Block
July 25, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
Is the ACLU actually attempting to sway congressional debate against Israel? The red flags are alarming, including this recent tweet by Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program: “Israeli leaders exploit horrible acts of anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to move to Israel. Judaism ≠ Zionism; Anti-Zionism ≠ Anti-Semitism.”
Mr. Dakwar is wrong, and his tweet is anti-Semitic. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said at a symposium held at the United Nations, “Racism in all forms is intolerable. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Both are unacceptable.”
Greenblatt’s reaction was echoed by António Guterres, the sectary general of the United Nations, who told the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the “denial of Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism.”
Greenblatt and Guterres would agree with me that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. To deny this connection is to deny reality. Greenblatt even confronted the ACLU directly in response to its top “Human Rights” official making such a despicable statement.
The recent uptick in troubling statements and tweets regarding Jews and Israel is obviously disturbing, but it should not come as a surprise. Seen in the context of “intersectionality” and the rise of the Alt-left, an upward trend in the use of this kind of language is to be expected. However, it is appalling to see one of the longest-standing and most venerated civil rights organizations in our country’s history disseminating misinformation, fomenting anti-Semitism and lauding hatemongers.
Even more worrisome, the ACLU now apparently is looking to influence Congress to the detriment of Israel.
Currently, the U.S. Congress is considering important legislation to counter the economic warfare waged by those who seek to destroy the world’s only Jewish state. S. 720, also known as the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, would expand existing U.S. anti-boycott laws, which currently prohibit participation by Americans in discriminatory foreign government-led boycotts against Israel. The new legislation would include similar efforts by international governmental organizations like the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).
The specific focus of the proposed legislation on international bodies is necessitated by the new and dramatic growth of international anti-Israel movements that are attempting to use the UN and EU as vehicles to promote economic boycotts against Israel.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), has already garnered an impressive 45 bipartisan co-sponsors.
In response, the ACLU, a civil liberties organization, has paradoxically come out strongly against this anti-discrimination bill, arguing in a letter they sent to senators that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act would violate the right to free speech.
This legislation does not in any way regulate civil society organizations which are critical of Israeli policies or prevent them from speaking out in favor of boycotts. Any suggestion that this bill creates potential criminal or civil liability for non-profit organizations is simply an effort to create confusion as to the bill’s impact. Commercial conduct is not speech.
From the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “Anti-Semitism is a word that has been used throughout history when Jewish people are judged and measured by one standard and the rest by another. So it is with anti-Zionism; the idea that all other peoples can seek and defend their right to self-determination, but Jews cannot.”
The complete and utter failure of the ACLU to recognize anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism is unacceptable. That failure loans credence to those who say the ACLU has become a political tool of the Alt-Left. Given the storied history of this organization, that’s a genuine tragedy.
I hope the ACLU will take some time to better understand that individuals like Mr. Dakwar, far from being paragons of virtue and defenders of civil rights, are nothing more than the latest in a long line of hateful individuals, who twist facts and figures to hide their thinly veiled anti-Semitism. The only thing noteworthy about them is their attempt to cloak their true intentions in the language of “civil rights,” “liberation,” and “intersectionality.”
Once again, the haters are on the wrong side of history. Legislation protecting Israel from boycotts has already passed in over 20 U.S. states. Additional legislation is pending in several others.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is not an effort to suppress free speech, but an important weapon in the fight against hate and intolerance. Passing federal legislation now would send a powerful message: anti-Semitism is not welcome in America and Israel is our great friend and ally.
Joshua S. Block is CEO and President of The Israel Project
Tip Staff published TIP Senior Policy Analyst Quoted in Algemeiner on Israel Anti-Boycott Act in TIP In the News 2017-08-01 11:14:34 -0400
Progressive Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan Under Fire for Supporting Anti-BDS Legislation
By Ben Cohen
July 26, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan is under fire from fellow progressives over her support for the Anti-Israel Boycott Act currently making its way through Congress.
A former governor of New Hampshire, Hassan became the state’s junior senator in 2016 after she defeated Republican Kelly Ayotte in closely-fought contest. An important figurehead for the left-wing of her party, Hassan has won plaudits from progressives for her support of reproductive rights, stricter gun control and affordable higher education.
But by joining a bipartisan group of 45 other senators in co-sponsoring the anti-boycott act — introduced in March by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md) — Hassan is now being accused by some civil rights activists of supporting a major abridgment of free speech.
The charge against Hassan has been led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has spent the last several months vocally opposing the proposed legislation — which would amend the 1979 Export Administration Act “to include in the prohibitions on boycotts against allies of the United States boycotts fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel.”
The ACLU, along with several groups from the BDS campaign targeting Israel, insists that the true aim of the act is to suppress boycott advocacy. “We urge you to refrain from co-sponsoring the legislation because it would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs,” the ACLU said in a July 17 letter to Hassan.
In an oped published the Concord Monitor, one BDS activist alleged that Hassan was backing legislation that “would make it a felony for Americans to support an international boycott against Israel.”
Last week, a spokeswoman for Hassan denied the bill could limit free speech as protected under the First Amendment.
“Senator Hassan strongly opposes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and believes that it harms efforts to secure enduring peace through bilateral negotiations toward a two-state solution,” Ricki Eshman, Hassan’s press secretary, said in a statement.
Hassan’s support for a political solution based on a sovereign state of Palestine alongside Israel has earned her the admiration of left-wing Jewish groups in the past. During last year’s election cycle, the leftist lobby group J Street warmly endorsed Hassan’s senate candidacy, praising her for supporting the July 2015 Iran nuclear deal and declaring that she “identifies closely with the core values of J Street and pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”
J Street has not, however, come to Hassan’s aid over the boycott controversy. The group firmly opposes the act, claiming that it would extend “US legal protections to illegal West Bank settlements.”
Jacob Millner — a senior policy analyst with the communications strategy group The Israel Project — told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that Hassan “deserves to be commended for supporting a bill that fights back against the hateful and antisemitic BDS campaign.
“The bill does not in any way stifle free speech or prevent the expression of a certain point of view,” Millner said. “Rather, it regulates commercial activity.”
Millner pointed out the growing consensus among world leaders, among them French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, that “equates BDS with antisemitism.” The ACLU bitterly opposes this conclusion, with one of its top leaders accusing Israel on July 3 of “exploiting” antisemitism “to encourage Jews to move to Israel.”
Tip Staff published TIP Senior Fellow Op-Ed in International Business Times on PA’s Salaries to Terrorists and Their Families in TIP In the News 2017-07-31 16:43:10 -0400
TIP Senior Fellow Op-Ed in International Business Times on PA’s Salaries to Terrorists and Their Families
How can the Palestinian Authority defend paying lifetime salaries to terrorists convicted of murder?
By Julie Lenarz
July 27, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
Researchers from the Office of National Statistics found that in 2016, the average wage in the UK was around £27,271, or £2,272 per month. Congratulations – if you fall into that category, your hard-earned money can't compete with the salary of Palestinian terrorists. Yes, you heard that right.
Under the Palestinian Authority's (PA) "Pay-for-Slay" programme, terrorists convicted of murder are entitled to monthly lifetime salaries. The pitch is simple and deadly: The more Jews your murder, the richer you will get.
The family of Omar al-Abed, the knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who brutally butchered three members of the Salomon family at Shabbat dinner on Friday 21 (July), will soon enjoy a generous monthly payment of at least £2,385 plus supplements, courtesy to the PA. It is the standard rate typically being paid to perpetrators sentenced to 30 years or more in prison.
But even if a terrorist's earning is not on the high end of the spectrum, the average monthly Palestinian prisoner salary (£650) is still higher than the monthly salary of a Palestinian civil servant (£598) or Palestinian military personnel (£562).
In addition to the prisoner's salary, the PA also gives out a special monthly supplement for children under the age of 18 of £10 for every child. But it gets better. A spousal supplement paid by the PA means that £65 extra a month can be earned for every wife that you have. Yes, that's right. Plural.
In other words, murder, preferably multiple murder, is a lucrative business in the Palestinian territories. The PA's policy of rewarding terrorists – or "martyrs" as they call the murderous jihadists that slaughter innocent people – directly makes complicit the official representation of the Palestinian people in the murder of Jews.
Sometimes, of course, by mistake, they are wounding and killing the "wrong" kind of people. On July 14, two Druze policemen were killed in an attack carried out by three Palestinian terrorists just outside the Temple Mount Plaza that led to metal detectors being installed by the Israeli military. In response, violence broke out, fuelled by incitement of the Palestinian leadership, claiming the lives of even more people. On Monday, a Palestinian terrorist almost stabbed to death an Arab bus driver.
Perhaps, if Israel really were as apartheidist as these hatemongers claim, finding Jews to murder wouldn't be that difficult.
But what's most revolting is the fact that Palestinian incitement for murder is bankrolled by the international community. The PA receives hundreds of millions in financial assistance every year from across the world. The US alone transferred £273 million to them last year.
As foreign aid budgets partially derive from taxpayer's money, there's a good chance that your hard-earned cash could end up being used as blood money by the PA to reward murderous terrorists. A possibility that increases by the year.
The PA's latest budget revealed that its spending on salaries to terrorists and their families has again risen in 2017. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, reported that payments to imprisoned terrorists increased 13%, from 488 million shekels (£103 million) in 2016 to 550 million shekels (£121million) this year. The overall 2017 budget for payments to terrorists and their families amounted to 1.237 billion shekels (£271 million)
This problem feeds into the broader issue of incitement among Palestinian leaders and Palestinian society as a whole. Jew hatred is openly taught in schools and spread in textbooks, including those sponsored by international donors. PA television is also known for airing interviews with children that aspire to become "martyrs" and fantasise about killing Jews. And on Friday, following the brutal murder of the Salomon family, at the peak of perversity, Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza to celebrate the massacre.
Fortunately, governments are waking up to the grim reality. In 2016, the UK froze more than £25 million in financial aid to the PA, after the Department for International Development ordered an investigation into the sponsorship of Palestinian terrorists. In addition, Norway last year demanded that the PA return funding for a women's youth centre named after a terrorist responsible for the murder of 38 Israelis, 13 of whom were children.
The tone at the UN, an organisation often criticised for its obvious bias against Israel, has also changed since the appointment of António Guterres as Sectary General. "The glorification of terrorism or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts is unacceptable under any circumstances," read a statement released in May 2017 by a representative for Guterres' office. "The UN has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace."
For too long, the PA has not just tolerated acts of terrorism, but has actively encouraged and supported them with their glorification of "martyrs" and their generous financial rewards handed out to Palestinian criminals. If we are serious about fighting terrorism, scrutinising their behaviour before donating hundreds of millions in aid would be a good place to start.
Tip Staff published TIP CEO Op-Ed in Algemeiner on Second Anniversary of Iran’s Nuclear Deal in TIP In the News 2017-07-31 16:14:08 -0400
Two Years Later, Iran’s Nuclear Deal Has Not Worked
By Joshua S. Block
Guest Contributor - Opinion
July 27, 2017
Click here to read the full article.
Two years after the US-led group of six world powers reached a nuclear agreement with Iran, President Trump confirmed that Iran has met the conditions for recertification.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly condemned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as dangerous appeasement — but, six months into his presidency, he has not attempted to dismantle it.
In 2015, President Obama said in a speech that the nuclear agreement would make the world safer. Yet as we mark the second anniversary of the JCPOA, the undeniable reality is that the deal is not delivering the outcomes that were promised.
Preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is one of the greatest geopolitical challenges facing the world today, and our decision-makers owe it to the American people to scrutinize the deal with close attention.
The central goal of negotiations with Iran was, in President Obama’s own words, “to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program.” Unfortunately, the fatal flaws of the deal that was eventually reached mean that the opposite is true. The JCPOA does not permanently prohibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. To the contrary, it provides Iran with a patient pathway to achieve exactly that.
By following the terms of the JCPOA, in less than a decade, Tehran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with an industrial-size enrichment program and the ability to produce nuclear weapons with close to zero-breakout time.
The regime in Tehran will also be able to conduct advanced centrifuge research at Fordow — the IRGC’s underground bunker, a complex likely impenetrable to US military strikes, which will accelerate the regime’s ability to rapidly enrich fuel.
Here is why.
Under the nuclear agreement, Iran’s central nuclear infrastructure remains intact. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities have been closed. The Islamic Republic is permitted to keep more centrifuges under the nuclear deal than it possessed when the Obama administration entered office.
Unsurprisingly, Iran has also violated the nuclear deal multiple times. While the country has not been caught with enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon, it has already exceeded the 130-ton limit on its heavy water stock twice. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency also warned in its annual report that Iran continues to seek illicit missile technology, which experts fear can be used for the delivery of nuclear weapons.
This is not helped by the fact that the deal’s verification procedures to ensure Iran’s compliance are not nearly as airtight as the Obama administration claimed they would be. A close examination of the JCPOA reveals that the terms of the agreement permit Iran to hold international inspectors at arm’s length for at least 24 days — and likely even for a period of three months or longer — before undeclared nuclear sites and activities conducted on the premises can be inspected.
Iran is further allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate the Parchin military complex, where it is suspected of conducting nuclear weapons work. This arrangement is part of a secret agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which essentially makes Iranian compliance a matter of trust. And trust is the last commodity we should extend to the Iranians.
When Iran entered into dialogue about its nuclear program, it suffered from a significant trust deficit based on its long history of aggressive behavior towards the United States and numerous other countries around the world. And since the deal was signed, Tehran has shamelessly expanded its malevolent activities. The Islamic Republic has test-fired multiple ballistic missiles in defiance of UN prohibitions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Moreover, the Trump administration is currently trying to free two Iranian-Americans being held in the notorious Evin prison, including an 81-year-old man in poor health.
Obama’s own State Department listed Iran as a leading state sponsor of terror; at the same time, the nuclear deal negotiated by his administration provided the Islamic Republic with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and new trade deals. Unsurprisingly, this policy badly backfired. Iran’s terror proxies, most notably Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, are among the main beneficiaries of the deal. The intelligence chief of the IDF warned during the IDC Herzliya Conference in 2017 that Iran now contributes $50 million to Hamas’ annual budget, while bankrolling Hezbollah with $75 million, and funding Palestinian Islamic Jihad with an additional $70 million.
The threat of an emboldened Iran that would pursue hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East was one of the likely outcomes anticipated by numerous critics of the deal. Their assessment rings true today. Iran has gobbled up four Arab capitals through its influence: Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and most recently Sana’a. Iran has also tightened its grip on Iraq through affiliated Shiite militia groups based in the country, and has used the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a vehicle to consolidate power on the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran is also directly complicit — and an active participant — in the industrial-scale killing in Syria, where it supports Assad’s murderous regime and the terrorist group Hezbollah. Administration officials confirmed that a proposed sale of civilian airliners from Boeing to Iran’s largest airline was still under review by the Treasury Department because Iran uses its civilian air fleet to send personnel and weapons to the Syrian battlefield.
There is more bad news. Hopes that the nuclear agreement would empower Iran’s moderates and reign in the country’s human rights abuses seems tragically misplaced. Instead, the deal has strengthened hardline elements, most notably the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is tasked with preserving the ideals of the 1979 revolution. The IRGC reaches into nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, making it a major beneficiary of the nuclear agreement — and the billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Hassan Rouhani’s rise to power has changed nothing in this regard. Anti-Americanism and the intention to wipe Israel off the map are not mere rhetoric, but remain part of the regime’s core DNA. Persecution, violence and outright murder have also gotten worse under Rouhani’s tenure. At least 966 people were put to death in the country in 2015 — the highest number since 1989. This figure is twice as many as in 2010, and 10 times as many as in 2005. This brutality is the true face of Iran’s ostensibly ‘moderate’ regime.
Two years after the nuclear agreement was signed, Iran — immune to future economic sanctions and on its way to becoming a nuclear threshold state in just a decade from now — pursues its hegemonic ambitions, arm-in-arm with terrorist organizations and rogue regimes that threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
The only people that Tehran is fooling at this point are people who want to be fooled. Iran is using the agreement as a domestic tool of oppression and as an instrument of terror abroad. It is only a matter of time for it to collapse under its own weight. No deal would have been preferable to a bad deal. The JCPOA is a bad deal and it makes us less safe– and if President Trump truly meant what he said during the campaign, he must stop supporting it immediately.
Joshua S. Block is CEO and president of The Israel Project
Friday marked the second anniversary of the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear agreement reached between a U.S.-led group of six world powers and Iran. On this anniversary, we ask: was the deal a success?
The answer is a resounding “no”. Iran is using the agreement as a domestic tool of oppression and as an instrument of terror abroad. Over the past two years, the Islamic Republic has repeatedly tested the limits of the deal and has also pursued a much more aggressive military campaign across the Middle East, confirming the worst fears of the JCPOA’s critics.
Download a larger version of the factsheet below at our Slideshare
Tip Staff published Iran gives Hezbollah domestic rocket production capability in Daily TIP 2017-03-17 15:45:02 -0400
Trouble in Lebanon. Iran has built a complex of underground rocket factories in Lebanon that are now under the complete control of Hezbollah, an officer of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) told a Kuwaiti newspaper on Monday. The IRGC official explained to al-Jarida that Iran decided to give Hezbollah the indigenous capability to produce rockets after Israel bombed distribution channels ranging from Sudanese weapons factories to convoys in Syria. The factories all produce different components of the rockets and only afterwards are they assembled to complete the process. They lie about 50 meters underground and are protected by defense systems to ward off any potential Israeli attack. IRGC advisors are on site.
- Iran gives Hezbollah domestic rocket production capability
- Syrian regime cut water supply for millions of people – UN report
- Hamas claims to moderate with new charter, but still wants to destroy Israel
- Asian countries welcome Israeli early learning program
The domestic production of rockets by Hezbollah would, wrote Avi Issacharoff of The Times of Israel, “mark a dramatic upgrade in Hezbollah’s ability to acquire more, and more precise, rockets than ever before.” According to the IRGC official, the weapons include rockets with ranges of more than 500 kilometers, surface-to-surface missiles, and drones equipped with anti-tank missiles; they have been used by Hezbollah in Syria, where the terrorist group alongside its patron Iran are fighting to prop up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.Heinous. A new United Nations report reveals that the Syrian regime deliberately bombed a spring outside Damascus in December—cutting off the water supply for 5.5 million people. The damage was caused by at least two air strikes and is being labeled a war crime.
The attack was one of several war crimes committed by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to the report. Another incident listed was the intentional bombing of a school complex in October—a double tap attack, meaning that aid workers who came to rescue civilians from the site were bombed as well. Twenty-one children died, as well as 15 adults. More than 100 people were left wounded.
"Today in a sense the entire country has become a torture-chamber; a place of savage horror and absolute injustice," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein also said on Tuesday. He called for the release of tens of thousands of detainees from Syria’s prisons, and for torturers and executioners to be brought to justice.
Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, noted that its 2016 report found the Assad government culpable for "extermination as a crime against humanity.”
"We are speaking of a daily massacre going on for six years," Mazen Darwish, a lawyer freed in 2015 after three years in jail, told the 47-member forum.
Assad’s forces are backed by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia.Not fooling anyone. The Islamist terrorist group Hamas is drafting a new platform that will endorse a Palestinian state based on the 1949 armistice lines in an effort “to present a more pragmatic and cooperative face to the world,” The New York Times reported Thursday.
The group will also re-frame its enemies — defined in its 1988 charter as “Israel, Judaism and Jews” — as “occupiers.”
Though the new language appears to be more moderate, the Times noted, the terrorist group “would not recognize Israel, however, nor would it give up future claims to all of what Hamas considers Palestinian lands.”
The new charter will also omit any references to Hamas’ ties to its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is under increasing pressure by the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The changes being considered are “not yet final and has not yet been approved by Hamas’s governing bodies,” the Times added.
“Hamas officials and other analysts said the document seemed intended to alleviate the group’s international isolation,” the Times reported, but gave no indication that Hamas would operate any differently than it does now.
Kobi Michael, the former head of the Palestinian desk at Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs, cautioned that Hamas is “trying to use the sort of language that will be more accepted by the international community.” However, he noted that the group “will not change their methods — the use of terror and the use of violence against Israeli citizens.”
Hamas confirmed early last month that it had rejected an Israel’s offer to grant significant economic aid to the Gaza Strip, which was contingent on the terrorist group releasing three Israeli hostages and the bodies of two soldiers. Less than two weeks later, Hamas rejected an offer by Israel’s defense minister to create jobs and build infrastructure in Gaza in exchange for demilitarization.
Hamas’ foreign minister told NPR in May 2011 that the terror group accepted “the state and ’67 borders. This was mentioned many times and we repeated many times.” In December 2012, Meshaal vowed to never recognize Israel. “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land,” he told thousands of supporters at a Gaza rally.
Meshaal’s comments came weeks after Hamas fired hundreds of rockets against Israeli towns, prompting Israel to launch Operation Pillar of Defense to root out terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.Young families in South Korea and China will now be able to access HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents and Preschool Youngsters), an Israeli-developed early learning program already reaching 20,000 families at 440 program sites in countries including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, Liberia, New Zealand, and the United States. HIPPY-inspired programs also operate in Denmark, Finland, Holland, Sweden and Turkey. HIPPY partners with parents to prepare kids for success in school, particularly targeting children disadvantaged by poverty, limited education and language deficits. HIPPY peer parent educators from the community make home visits to provide 30 weeks per year of culturally and linguistically relevant curriculum activities and books directly to parents. (via Israel21c)
Tip Staff published PA set to pay $760 monthly stipend to wife of ‘martyr’ who killed 4 Israelis last week in Daily TIP 2017-01-12 20:19:59 -0500
The Palestinian Authority has hailed a terrorist who killed four Israeli soldiers on Sunday as a “martyr,” signalling not only its approval of the fatal attack but that his widow will be eligible to receive a monthly stipend, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported on Tuesday. The official PA daily reported that the attack was “a car ramming operation” and that the killer, Fadi al-Qunbar from eastern Jerusalem, “died as a Shahid,” which PMW explained is used to describe “a Martyr who died for Allah.” By referring to al-Qunbar as a martyr, “the PA is telling its people that murdering the Israeli youths was sanctioned by Islam and seen as positive Islamic behavior.” Official PA television also called al-Qunbar, who Israeli officials believe may have been a supporter of the Islamic State, a “Shahid” seven times. Under Palestinian Authority law, the widows of “Shahids” are entitled to receive monthly stipends for the rest of their lives. The family of a martyr is eligible to receive a minimum of 1,400 shekels each month, while the wife receives an additional 400 shekels. She also receives 200 shekels monthly per child, as well as an additional 300 shekels if she is a resident of Jerusalem. In total, al-Qunbar’s wife is set to receive 2,900 shekels ($760) per month for the rest of her life from the attack. Within the next several months, she will also receive a one-time payment of 6,000 shekels ($1,580). PMW also observed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas failed to condemn Sunday’s attack, in contrast to his response to car-ramming attacks in France and Germany. Following last summer’s truck ramming attack in Nice, which killed 84 people, Abbas told French President Francois Hollande that he “condemned this cowardly act in the strongest terms.” Similarly, following the attack at a Berlin Christmas market last month, which left 12 people dead, Abbas again said that he “condemned this cowardly act in the strongest terms.” Meanwhile, Palestinian factions including Fatah, the political party headed by Abbas, and Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, praised Sunday’s attack — a response that stood in marked contrast to much of the rest of the world.Hamas can’t take a joke. The terrorist organization arrested a comedian Wednesday for making a one-minute video about power outages in Gaza; the clip has thus far garnered more than a quarter million views. “(Take) everything, but electricity, Hamas,” entertainer Adel al-Mashwakhi said in the video, which highlighted ongoing outages that have severely affected the amount of power afforded to Gazan homes. Gaza residents have taken to the streets to protest the power cuts, leading to a number of arrests, according to the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network. Al-Mashwakhi was arrested just hours after his video went live. In August, Hamas announced that one of its operatives was electrocuted to death while working on a tunnel in Gaza, indicating that the Islamist group was diverting power meant for civilian use to bolster its terror infrastructure. Israel was forced to increase the amount of electricity it sends to Gaza in June after repeated shutdowns at Gaza’s only power plant due to a payment dispute between Hamas and Fatah.The United States blacklisted 18 senior Syrian officials on Thursday after determining that the Bashar al-Assad regime was responsible for carrying out gas attacks on civilians by weaponizing chlorine. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons,” said Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council. “The Assad regime’s barbaric continued attacks demonstrate its willingness to defy basic standard of human decency, its international obligations, and longstanding global norms.” Also Thursday, Syrian human rights activists urged the United Nations to bring Iranian-backed militias and Russia to justice for war crimes committed in their country, Reuters reported. The Syrian Network for Human Rights and the Violations Documentation Center cited specific incidents of Russian criminality and also said, “We…urge the Commission to explore fully all credible accounts of Iran’s complicity in war crimes in Aleppo” due to the “central role” of Iranian-backed militias in besieging Aleppo before that city’s fall.Elli is the Norse goddess of old age. Elli•Q, named in her honor but with an original twist, is a robotic companion who emerged from stealth mode today on a quest to alleviate loneliness and social isolation for older adults living alone. Elli•Q is the brainchild of Intuition Robotics, a Ramat Gan startup pioneering social companion technologies. The robot’s mission is to be an “active aging companion,” keeping older adults engaged by helping them access and connect to today’s technologies, including video chats, online games, social media and other ways to stay in touch. “We set out to create this company to have a positive social impact,” Dor Skuler, CEO and founder of Intuition Robotics, says. “While we don’t expect a robot or technology to be people’s friends or solve the problem of loneliness, we do think that technology can overcome barriers and bring people together in a way that’s not happening today.” (via Israel21c)
- US blacklists senior Syrian officials for gassing civilians; Syrian activists call for investigating Russian, Iranian war crimes
Tip Staff published UN Rep at TIP event in Jerusalem: “There are no excuses” for terror attacks in Daily TIP 2017-01-12 20:18:44 -0500Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, laid flowers at the site of Sunday’s truck-ramming terror attack at the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem Wednesday. Speaking at a memorial event hosted by The Israel Project, Mladenov drew a link between terror against Israelis and similar violence taking place around the world. “We need to stand united against this rise of violent extremism,” he said. “Terrorism will never be tolerated. There are no excuses.” In the attack, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem slammed a truck into a group of IDF cadets who had just gotten off a bus during a field trip. Four were murdered and 17 others injured. The memorial event also featured representatives of Israel’s Jewish and Christian clergy, who called for an end to terror and peace among faiths. Mladenov added his voice to a rising tide of worldwide condemnations of the attack, which comes in the wake of Palestinian calls for increased violence following last month’s UN Security Council resolution which described Israel’s presence in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank as illegal. Israeli authorities have recorded an increase of violent attacks since the passage of the resolution. Also at the ceremony, European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faarborg Andersen said, “We are here in solidarity with the victims and families of this terrible terror incident that took place a couple days ago in Jerusalem and took the lives of four young people in a totally meaningless way…We collectively must do all we can to fight this scourge and end this meaningless and tragic death." Senior diplomats from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Italy, India, Belgium, Spain, Austria, and Lithuania also paid their respects to the victims of terror from their own countries and from Israel.In a rare public demonstration since the 2009 unrest that rocked the country, protestors in Iran demonstrated against one of the founding fathers of Iran’s oppressive regime at his funeral Tuesday. The event provided a rare opportunity for the country’s “long-silenced opposition,” as characterized by the Wall Street Journal.“ The crowd was estimated by Tehran’s governor at up to 2.5 million people and became, in effect, parallel funerals,” reported The Journal. “One featured Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior officials honoring [the late President Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani. The other included protests in support of Green Movement opposition leaders.” Pro-democracy “Green Revolution” protests swept Iran after its disputed 2009 presidential election. “People’s slogans today at Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s funeral shows that regime officials have to resolve the issue of house arrest of leaders of the 2009 dissidents,” Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Mottahari said via Twitter. One of the slogans chanted by the crowd was “Free Political Prisoners.” Mr. Rafansajani’s own daughter, Faezeh, is an opposition supporter who has served jail time for her activism. At one point during the procession, she spoke to the crowd and flashed the victory sign. “The desire to change and reform has not died and whenever there is an opportunity it will resurface and we will raise our voice,” said one woman, who did not want her name to be published.A Syrian man recovering in an Israeli hospital said that while the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is his enemy, the Syrian people “want peace with Israel,” The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday. Fadi, his wife, and their four children were forced to leave their home village after it was devastated during the Syrian conflict, which has claimed more than 450,000 lives since 2011. “There has been complete destruction caused by the regime through artillery, planes, barrel bombs from helicopters and tanks,” he said. He argued that Assad must be removed from power so that Syrians can have peace and “live in coexistence as one people without wars and to create a popular basis of friendship and brotherliness and to renounce violence.” “This regime is the enemy of the world. It kills big and small. It doesn’t leave anything. Even animals it kills,” he added. Regarding coexistence, he said that the Assad regime indoctrinates people to “think that the Israeli people is our enemy. But we don’t believe it today. We want peace with Israel and all the peoples around the world.” Like all wounded Syrians in Ziv Hospital, Fadi’s case has been handled by Fares Issa, a social worker who joined the medical center only months before it started accepting Syrian patients. He specifically recounted an incident from last year with a young Syrian patient who lost both his legs from shelling. “The child who lost his legs, a 12-year-old, was screaming in the trauma room, ‘Don’t treat me, because we don’t have money to pay for the hospital.’ I tried to calm him down,” Issa said. “He said they don’t have money. But you want to give them life, life for a child who has lost his legs.” Over 2,500 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013, even though the two countries have been in a state of war since Israel’s founding. Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai documented one of the risky missions the IDF undertook to rescue an injured Syrian fighter in 2015. Pregnant women sometimes travel to the border in order to deliver their babies in Israel, and Israeli doctors have treated young Syrian patients with cutting-edge procedures that allowed them to walk again. An Israeli crowdfunding campaign raised nearly $350,000 to aid Syrian refugees last month.The Australian government recently released photographs of weapons, which its navy seized from an Iranian dhow (a type of vessel) off the coast of Yemen in February 2016, that appear to be Iranian-manufactured and on their way to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Matthew Schroeder, an analyst for the Small Arms Survey, an international research center in Geneva, Switzerland, said, “[T]he seizure appears to be yet another example of Iranian weapons being shipped abroad despite longstanding U.N. restrictions on arms transfers from Iran.” Conflict Armaments Research, a private arms consulting firm, published a report last November indicating that its research and analysis “suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles.” The Houthis seized control of the Yemeni government in 2015, prompting a military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. The Iranian proxy, whose slogan reads in Arabic “God is great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam,” have received arms—including missiles—and training from Iran. American, French, and Australian vessels have intercepted weapons shipments from Iran on their way to the Houthi rebels. After the capture of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014, Iranian parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, boasted that Iran now controlled four Arab capitals, the other three being Damascus, Baghdad, and Beirut. Secretary of State John Kerry has previously expressed his concern about Iranian missiles being delivered to the Houthis, and then being fired over the border into Saudi territory.
Tip Staff published Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist questions orthodoxies about Palestinian statehood in Daily TIP 2017-01-12 20:17:31 -0500“Would a Palestinian state be good for Palestinian people?” columnist Bret Stephens asked in the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal Monday. Because of the failures of Palestinian political institutions, Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who formerly served as Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post, is not so sure. “A telling figure came in a June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, which found that a majority of Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state,” he wrote. “No doubt part of this owes to a desire to be connected to Israel’s thriving economy.” The notion that a Palestinian state is in the best interest of the Palestinian people is an unexamined idea that overlooks the facts on the ground, Stephens opined. The Palestinian Authority lacks even the bare minimum requirements for creating a viable state; it cannot, for example, maintain a monopoly of force. A Palestinian state enacted tomorrow would likely be overrun by Hamas and other competing terrorist factions. The Israeli government's official position, supported by the U.S., is that a two-state solution is the desirable outcome of the conflict. While Israel has taken great risks for peace and has twice offered the Palestinians a state, the Palestinians have responded with rejectionism and violence, as Stephens pointed out in his column. Furthermore, Grant Rumley, an expert on Palestinian affairs, wrote last May that the failure to account for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' corruption and authoritarian rule in the West Bank, which has resulted in weak political institutions, "could have a devastating effect on the long-term prospects for a viable Palestinian state."
In one of his final acts in office on December 30, outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submitted a confidential report to the UN Security Council alleging that Iran may have violated an international arms embargo by smuggling weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, Reuters reported Sunday. The report also contains a charge from the French government that an arms shipment seized in the Indian Ocean in March originated in Iran and was intended for fighters in Somalia or Yemen. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was not altered by the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions as part of last year’s deal with global powers, bans Iran from exporting weapons and specifically prohibits the transfer of arms to Hezbollah. Ban cited a speech that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave in June, in which Nasrallah claimed that all of its “rockets and weapons are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” “I am very concerned by this statement, which suggests that transfers of arms and related materiel from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hezbollah may have been undertaken contrary (to a Security Council resolution),” Ban wrote. Hezbollah reportedly has an arsenal of 130,000 rockets, more than the combined total of all 27 non-U.S. NATO member states. Israeli officials believe that any future war with Hezbollah has the potential to cause “thousands of civilian deaths” in Israel. Hezbollah has, among other things, threatened to attack ammonium tanks in Haifa, which could kill tens of thousands of people. An Israeli defense official told The New York Times in May 2015 that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk. A few days later, a newspaper linked to Hezbollah bolstered the Israeli assessment.Bring on the shekels. Israeli high-tech firms raised a record $4.8 billion in 2016—easily surpassing the previous year’s gains by 11 percent. “Traditionally, many of Israel's tech companies have sold out at an early stage to global giants like Cisco, IBM and Microsoft,” according to an article in Reuters. “But now start-ups are using a sharp rise in private investment to pursue growth, often aiming for eventual stock market flotations. With founders looking longer term rather than trying to make quick money, acquisitions of Israeli tech firms fell in 2016 to their lowest level in six years.” The uptrend in capital raising is expected to continue in 2017—though possibly at slower rates.An internal brace for adolescent scoliosis from Israel’s ApiFix has continued to generate inquiries from readers since ISRAEL21c first wrote about its development in April 2012. Now there’s more good news to report for young people suffering from severe curvature of the spine. As of the end of 2016, the ApiFix device has been used on 110 patients in Israel and in eight European countries — Germany, France, Holland, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Poland – and is getting closer to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says CTO Uri Arnin. “There is significant interest from other places as well, and I believe in coming years we will start marketing in additional countries,” Arnin says. Scoliosis surgery, normally an invasive four- to six-hour procedure costing about $100,000 in the United States, uses 16 to 20 screws and results in significant permanent spinal stiffness. ApiFix’s Israeli-made titanium implant needs only two screws to secure it in place during a one-hour, minimally invasive procedure and allows the patient to maintain most of the flexibility of the spine. Approved for use in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis over 40 degrees, the implant corrects the curve gradually over several months. (via Israel21c)
Tip Staff published Late Iranian President Rafsanjani was no moderate in Daily TIP 2017-01-12 20:14:48 -0500Despite several obituaries commemorating former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as a moderate, he presided over several terrorist attacks and assassinations while president and called for the destruction of Israel. Four Iranian-Kurdish dissidents were assassinated at a Berlin restaurant in 1992; a German court found that the murders were ordered by the “highest state levels” of Iran, specifically the Committee for Special Operations, a special body of which then-President Rafsanjani was a part. The German prosecutors said explicitly that the killings had been ordered by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Rafsanjani. That same year, Iran was responsible for blowing up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires; two years later, the Jewish community center servicing that city was likewise blown up. Both of these terrorist attacks occurred under Rafsanjani’s presidency. According to the indictment drawn up by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died under mysterious circumstances in January 2015, the final go-ahead for the community center bombing was given by Khamenei and Rafsanjani. The indictment called for the arrest of Rafsanjani and seven others. Iran carried out the bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996, which killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel and a Saudi national, and wounded hundreds more. Rafsanjani was the president of Iran at the time. Then-FBI director Louis Freeh said, "The bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in the Beka Valley, and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.” Freeh also told Congress that "the attack was planned, funded and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Republic of Iran [and] that the IRGC principally had the responsibility of putting that plan into operation.” Rafsanjani made explicit threats to destroy Israel, including through the use of nuclear weapons. In 2001, he exclaimed, “If one day the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything.” Rafsanjani said in 2015 that he was confident that Israel would be wiped off the map and added, “When, and how that will happen, depends on conditions which are rapidly changing. Those conditions can be provided very soon if the usefulness period of Israel will expire.”Fatah and Hamas, the two main Palestinian political parties, have expressed praise for a terror attack that killed four Israelis in Jerusalem on Sunday. Fadi al-Qunbar, a suspected ISIS supporter, drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, killing Lt. Yael Yekutiel (age 20), Cadet Shir Hajaj (22), Cadet Shira Tzur (20), and Cadet Erez Orbach (20). The Palestinian reaction to the terror attack stood in stark contrast to the near unanimous condemnation by much of the rest of the world, a number of whom stated explicitly that there was no excuse to terror. While the attack was condemned by the United States, European Union, United Nations Security Council, and other leading bodies, it was met with praise by Palestinian leaders. Residents of Gaza handed out candies to celebrate the deaths. Fatah, the political party headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called the terror attack a “martyrdom operation” in a tweet from its official account. Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanou called it a “heroic” act and called on more Palestinians to “escalate the resistance,” CBS reported Sunday. Qanou boasted that Palestinian terror has returned, saying, “it may be quiet, it may linger, but it will never end.” The terror group bragged in a press release last week that it had killed seventeen Israelis in 2016.A U.S. Navy destroyer operating near the Strait of Hormuz was forced to fire three warning shots at four approaching Iranian boats which failed to heed initial warning signs. “This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction, and that is due to the fact that they were approaching at a high level of speed with weapons manned and disregarding repeated warnings,” Captain Jeff Davis, a Defense Department spokesman, said of the Sunday incident. The USS Mahan gave radio warnings for the Iranian boats, operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to halt, but the vessels ignored them, ultimately coming within 900 yards of the U.S. destroyer and only turning around once the warning shots had been fired. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that “this behavior is not acceptable given that the USS Mahan was operating in international waters.” Davis told reporters that there had been 58 incidents between U.S. and Iranian boats that were unsafe and unprofessional since the beginning of 2015: 23 in 2015 and 35 in 2016. The chief of Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, told Congress last March that Iran had become “more aggressive in the days since the [Iran nuclear] agreement.” Votel has also said, “It’s about the Iranian regime and their desire to continue to do these types of things that stoke instability or attempt to stoke instability in the region.” In November, a vessel belonging to the IRGC trained its machine gun at a U.S. Navy helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz. In September, Iran threatened to shoot down two American planes flying over the same body of water. Also that month, seven armed boats belonging to the IRGC Navy swarmed a U.S. Navy patrol ship in the Persian Gulf, forcing it to change course after the Iranians came within 100 yards and stopped their vehicles in the American ship’s path. Sailors aboard the USS Nitze recorded an encounter in August when Iranian boats came as close as 300 yards, forcing it and the USS Mason to change course to avoid a collision. Two weeks later, two U.S. patrol coastal ships, the USS Tempest and the USS Squall, were operating in international waters in the northern Gulf when IRGC boats approached them at high speed and passed within 600 yards of the Tempest three times. The Iranians ignored radio warnings that their actions were dangerous. These actions came just a few months after ten American sailors and their two boats were seized by IRGC naval forces in January of last year, in violation of international law.
Anyone who has flown in or out of Tel Aviv can surely attest to the congestion felt at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport. A recent Israel Airports Authority report shows an increase of 1.6 million passengers passing through the transportation hub on international flights in 2016 as compared to 2015 figures. According to the Israel Airports Authority, 17,387,971 passengers passed through Ben-Gurion Airport on international flights last year. Five airlines created nearly 50% of all traffic at Ben-Gurion Airport: El Al (5.5 million passengers); Turkish Airlines (932,000 passengers); EasyJet (719,000 passengers); Aeroflot (704,000 passengers); Arkia (650,000), and Israir (548,000 passengers). (via Israel21c)
Tip Staff published Tipping Point's Podcast #7 - The Lieberman enigma in Tipping Point Podcast 2016-12-02 13:05:14 -0500
During this episode, our guests try to decipher the new policies implemented by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, share their thoughts on Russia’s growing involvement in the Middle East and wonder what it takes to reignite the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process.
***The opinions expressed in this Podcast do not necessarily reflect the position of The Israel Project.
Tip Staff published Tipping Point's Podcast #6 – Hamas’ humanitarian hoax in Tipping Point Podcast 2016-12-02 13:04:58 -0500
Tipping Point hosts political analyst Dr. Emmanuel Navon and Walla's Tal Shalev to talk about this week’s political events.
***The views expressed during the course of the Podcast do not necessarily reflect the position of The Israel Project.